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Virtual Preventive Care Services for Employers During COVID-19

Virtual Preventive Care Services for Employers During COVID-19

Nov. 2, 2020
A new collaboration offers services that range from at-home specimen collection to mental health care support.

In order to help employers facilitate virtual (telehealth) access to clinical services for their employees and adult dependents, Quest Diagnostics and Catapult Health have joined forces.

"Social distancing and fear of contracting COVID-19 make it difficult for many individuals to access preventive care services from their healthcare providers,” said Jay G. Wohlgemuth, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, and head of the company's Employer Population Health programs. “At the same time, employers recognize that at-home care, technology-enabled options, including preventive care and screening, can be highly effective in enabling prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, supporting better workforce health and lower medical costs."

Several studies suggest that COVID-19 has prompted many individuals to cancel or postpone routine medical care. A Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ study published in Population Health Management of 1.9 million patients with diabetes found that nearly two-thirds failed to receive HbA1c testing. Another Health Trends™ study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a steep decline in the rate of cancer diagnosis, suggesting that patients delayed cancer screenings and evaluations due to the pandemic.

Other research from the IQVIA Institute shows a 70% decline in doctor visits during the onset of the pandemic and a study from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that about 1 in 4 employees are reporting depressive symptoms, such as anxiety and feelings of tiredness, and are exercising less than they did prior to the pandemic.

The collaboration pairs insights from Quest's biometric screenings offered at-home via specimen self-collection, at Quest's Patient Service Centers, and at the worksite with Catapult Health's new VirtualCheckup solution. The VirtualCheckup includes a video preventive care checkup to allow for confidential analysis and consultation with a nurse practitioner. Each checkup covers personal and family health history, Quest's lab test and biometric data, prescription drug adherence, depression screening (PHQ-9), and concludes with the creation of a personal action plan to include referral into employer health and benefits programs. The consultation also screens for potential COVID-19 exposure.

Health plans typically reimburse Catapult's preventive care checkups as a covered annual preventive checkup, reducing medical costs for employers and the need for employees to visit a doctor for the checkup.

"When people skip doctor visits, the consequences can be grave in terms of poorer long-term outcomes and higher medical costs," said David Michel, CEO of Catapult Health. "Because they sponsor much of the nation's healthcare, employers end up absorbing these costs to a great degree. Our unique virtual care model is designed to change that by taking preventive care into employee's homes, thereby solving for access to care, safety, and overall preventive care compliance."

A new Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) study showed that virtual preventive care rarely assesses blood pressure or cholesterol, two vital indicators of heart and metabolic health among patients with chronic illnesses, and measures that are often relied upon for medication management. This new offering from Quest and Catapult can help meet this need by combining biometric screening with the convenience of virtual care.

"Healthcare is complex and not every individual can navigate it successfully alone," said Wendi Mader, executive director, Quest Diagnostics, Employer Population Health. "Virtual care that includes convenient testing paired with clinical consultations, mental health, and prescription history, makes it easier and less complicated for employees to access the care they need when they need it."

Editor’s Note: For more information on how to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, consider attending the virtual 2020 Safety Leadership Conference. For details on speakers, topics and registration, click here.

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